One word to denote a person who derives pleasure from another's misfortune?

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    Not sure if sadist could work in this context but it is close. – Mohit Feb 8 '13 at 6:40
  • A sadist is active and possibly the perpetrator of the misfortune. He is not passive like someone enjoying watching people's misfurtunes – mplungjan Feb 8 '13 at 6:57
  • I like "sociopath" in this case. "Barbarian" and "troglodyte" also work. – user21497 Feb 8 '13 at 7:01
  • @Bill - but while a person enjoying schadenfreude may be any of those, none of them tells us that the active word was schadenfreude – mplungjan Feb 8 '13 at 7:05
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    @mplungjan: True enough, but it doesn't have to, does it? I suppose we could coin "schadenfreudean" and maybe even "schadenjungian" and "schadenmarxian". :-) – user21497 Feb 8 '13 at 7:09

Gloater: One who feels or expresses triumphant and malicious satisfaction at another's misfortune.

  • I don't think gloating relates to satisfaction at another's misfortune. It relates to the overt show of superiority over the loser when they've 'won' or proven the 'loser' wrong. – Jim Feb 8 '13 at 7:14
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    From wikipedia: Gloating is differentiated from Schadenfreude in that it does not necessarily require malice (one may gloat to a friend about having defeated him in a game without ill intent) and that it describes an action rather than a state of mind (one typically gloats to the subject of the misfortune or to a third party). – mplungjan Feb 8 '13 at 7:17

Sadist: One who derives pleasure through cruelty or pain to others.

The literal definition has a strong physical connotation to it, but the term does often get used loosely.

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    A sadist is actively inflicting cruelty. Someone gloating over other's misfortune is likely passively doing so – mplungjan Feb 8 '13 at 6:58
  • You're referring to the literal definition. I offered and qualified my answer as useful as used more loosely (which the word often is, at least in the states). – DuckMaestro Feb 8 '13 at 8:01
  • +1, MW,2: delight in cruelty. No mention of who's doing it or how. – Mazura May 16 '15 at 1:50

The a word schadenfreude borrows from the German Schadenfreude (“joy in the misfortune of others”).

There is also a rare word schadenfreuder, a person experiencing schadenfreude.

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